Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

PM: No single answer to problems

First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness meet with Prime Minister David Cameron at Stormont Castle

Giving Stormont the power to set its own corporation tax is not the only answer to Northern Ireland's economic difficulties, the Prime Minister has said.

David Cameron revealed that the decision on whether corporation tax powers should be devolved had still not been finalised but claimed he was keen to have the issue advanced.

Mr Cameron said: "There are a lot of complicated issues to be hammered out. It isn't straightforward. It is not a single answer to the problems of Northern Ireland's economy. We clearly need a bigger private sector here in Northern Ireland so there is no one single solution. It is also other issues we need to address as well. But I think we are making some progress.

Speaking after an hour-long meeting at Stormont Castle with the First Minister and Deputy First Ministers, Mr Cameron claimed progress was being made.

He said: "I have just received today a report by the Executive about the issue of corporation tax. We will study that carefully. I have aways seen some major reasons and advantages for moving ahead on this not least because of the border you have with the Republic."

The current rate of corporation tax in the UK is 24% while in the Irish Republic it stands at 12.5%.

Business leaders and politicians claim this puts Northern Ireland at a disadvantage. They believe Northern Ireland should be brought into line with the Republic in an effort to attract further investment and stimulate economic growth.

As yet the Stormont Executive and Westminster have not been able to agree how corporation tax powers could be devolved and how much it would cost.

Mr Cameron travelled to Stormont after he announced that the G8 summit is to be held in Co Fermanagh next year.

The security situation and the threat posed by dissident republicans was also discussed during the brief talks.

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